PHILADELPHIA – All five starters for the Philadelphia University men's basketball team scored in double figures as the Rams defeated Molloy, 72-58, in a non-conference tilt in the Gallagher Center Saturday afternoon.
Senior guard Jim Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area) led all players by netting a game-high 18 points with the help of a 7-for-7 effort at free-throw line for Philadelphia—who shot 95.7 percent (22-of-23) at the stripe. He also grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore guard Nick Schlitzer (Pottsville, Pa./Pottsville) added 17 points as he drained all six of his free throw attempts.
Junior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) and freshman forward Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Redeemer) both netted 12 points. Alexis had 12 of Philadelphia's 42 rebounds to complete his first career double-double. Christian added seven rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Andre Gibbs (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) scored 11 points.
Matt McLeod was the only Molloy (2-2) player to hit double digits as he recorded 15 points. Kevin Bowles and Jimmy Nolan each went for eight points. John Petrucelli had a team-best seven of Molloy's 30 rebounds.
Philadelphia opened the second half with a 35-20 lead that was quickly trimmed to eight by a 7-0 Molloy run, that included four of Miles Prendergast's six points. The Rams held a 46-38 lead before outscoring the Lions 11-3 to double the margin to 16 with 8:53 to play. Connolly drained two three-pointers during the charge, and Christian added five points.
The Lions fought back with 10 unanswered points, capped by a Bowles trey at the 6:07 mark, to pull within six at 57-51. After Christian drained two free throws to stop the run, Schlitzer nailed a three-pointer with 3:19 that allowed Philadelphia to regain a double-digit lead (62-51). Philadelphia fended off any late push by hitting their final 10 free throw attempts.
Philadelphia took control of the first half with a 21-4 surge over a 7:43 stretch to go from down one (11-10) to up by a game-high 16 (31-15) with 5:12 left in the half. All five starters contributed offensively, paced by six points from Connolly. Defensively, Philadelphia forced Molloy to shot 2-of-12 and commit three turnovers.
The Rams finished the game shooting 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the field. Molloy hit 38.9 percent (21-54) of its field goal attempts and was 64.7 percent (11-of-17) at the line.
Philadelphia goes right back to work with a non-conference match-up against UMass-Lowell on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Gallagher Center. The Philadelphia Textile 1957-58 men's basketball team will be inducted into the University's Athletics Hall of Fame at halftime.